Mitch Marner Receiving Misguided Blame for Maple Leafs Playoff Problems

Mitch Marner has been getting all of the blame for the Toronto Maple Leafs' shortcomings. Why is that? I have no clue. Today, I breakdown just how good Marner has been for this Leafs team over the last few NHL Playoff runs.
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Four
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Four / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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The Real Reason The Maple Leafs Are Struggling

This idea that a couple of mid-level players will make up Marner's value is insane and completely misses the Leafs' core issues. So far this postseason, the Leafs are giving up 3.5 goals per game; they also have the third-most defensive zone turnovers of all playoff teams and the fourth-highest percentage of giveaways coming in the defensive zone (via MoneyPuck).

The Leafs' offensive players are doing a very good job creating scoring chances, considering they can not get the puck out of the defensive zone. In addition, the Leafs have six defensemen who have given the puck away more than they have taken it away.

To me, Marner deserves none of this blame. The Leafs' blueline is nowhere near the quality of other teams in the playoffs. You could almost argue that it is one of the worst bluelines ever to make it to the playoffs.

This notion that the Leafs need to move Marner to free up cap space to improve this blueline is garbage.

The Leafs will have another 20 million dollars in cap space this coming offseason. This will be more than enough to retool the defensive group. Look at the Florida Panthers, who were one of the best defensive teams in hockey and only paid their entire defensive group 21 million dollars (via CapFriendly), which is the same amount the Maple Leafs have spent on their abomination of what they call defensemen.

The Leafs are in a good spot cap wise, with Reilly, McCabe signed, the Leafs need to find two to four defenseman. They have Robertson, Bobby McMann or Knies ready to play in the top six next season.


The Toronto Maple Leafs are only one year away from John Tavares's horrid contract expiring, and T.J. Brodie's five million-per-year contract runs out after this playoff run (via CapFriendly). Doing something as drastic as trading Mitch Marner would go down as one of the worst decisions the team has ever made.